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CEMPE Summary

Trompetist Ferdinand Schwarz playes at rehearsel with Ensemble LIME under Ultima 2023.
Ensemble LIME is one of the projects that has received funding from CEMPE.

CEMPE's closing conference shows the breadth and results of 10 years of work.

Centre for Excellence in Music Performance Education (CEMPE) is hosting its final conference on November 2nd and 3rd, marking the culmination of 10 years of activity at the Norwegian Academy of Music (NMH).

"It's bittersweet and strange that it's coming to an end. Ten years is very long, and the world looks so different now," says CEMPE director Ellen Stabell.

The conference is named "Connection, Collaboration & Co-creation – Ways forward for higher music education" (CC&C), which, according to Stabell, summarizes the core of CEMPE's work over the past decade.

"The name refers to the center's core values and what we have aimed to strengthen in higher music education during these ten years."

Musicians, the Job Market, and Society

One of the key areas that CEMPE has focused on is the relationship between music students and the job market they will enter. Projects CEMPE has been involved in include the Konservatoriumspodden podcast, the job shadowing project, and the student-driven Music Student Conference.

"We aim not only to make ourselves relevant to the job market but also to influence and change the job market and society," says Stabell.

This theme will also be a significant focus at the CC&C conference, with keynote speakers Andreas Vierziger and Helena Gaunt.

"Vierziger will give a keynote on preparing music students for a changing reality, where they must be more like project managers and creators of their work. In the afternoon, he will conduct a workshop for students."

"Gaunt will address what may be the most pressing issue in higher music education right now: creating legitimacy in society for the value and significance of music. A panel discussion will follow this," says Stabell.

Additionally, Jon Helge Sætre and colleagues from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester will present a significant project on practical experiences for performing arts students in higher European music education.

Malene Bichel and Kim Boeskov's "Learning to Co-create" presentation discusses a project at the Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium in Copenhagen, where bachelor students engage in external, collaborative, integrated projects in their penultimate semester.

"They aim to enhance students' development of artistic citizenship. They should identify a societal need and contribute to solving it through their art," explains Stabell.

Ellen Stabell has been with CEMPE since its inception, joining in 2017 and taking over as director in 2021, following Ingrid Maria Hanken and Jon Helge Sætre's leadership periods.

Student Voice

Stabell believes that one of the most significant changes CEMPE has brought about is allowing students to have a more substantial influence on their education and to drive their projects. In 2018, the center hired its first two student partners.

"The student perspective has been integrated in a new way. We hire student partners in paid positions, which makes them feel a sense of responsibility, and they have been involved in the entire decision-making process, including strategy, project selection, execution, and evaluation," she says.

This collaboration has resulted in projects such as the Core Portfolio project, the improvisation and re-composition project "DA er NÅ," and the STUDENT Talks discussion forum.

During CC&C, several student projects will be presented, including the Music Student Conference and the newly launched Norwegian Music Student Network. The music and composer collective "Det annet kjønn" will show its initiative to create a more inclusive jam scene highlighting female and non-binary instrumentalists. Additionally, the Friday evening concert primarily features student projects with support from CEMPE.

"Students are, of course, also included in the panel after Helena Gaunt's keynote," says Stabell.

Susanna Solsrud at the CEMPE booth during Career Day 2021.

Musician Health

A significant theme that wasn't as prominent initially but has grown over time is musician health. Stabell credits the strong collaboration with students for this development.

"It's related to changes in society and the fact that we brought in student partners who saw this as a need to discuss the challenging aspects of being a musician. It has become essential in recent years."

Under the headline "A Healthy and Sustainable Learning Culture," the center has thus worked extensively on musician health, especially mental health. This includes events such as the seminar "Musikeren og psyken" (The Musician and the Psyche) and the large MHPC conference.

This will also be a prominent theme in several program sessions at the CC&C conference.

"CEMPE fellow Damla Tahirbegi will discuss her doctoral project on emotional regulation in chamber music rehearsals. NMH Professor Karette Stensæth will present a longer paper on the connections between music and health," says Stabell.

Music researchers Tanja Orning and Veronica Ski-Berg lead and produce the "Konservatoriumspodden" podcast.

Performance, Teaching, and Learning

From the beginning, strengthening learning, practice, and teaching in performance disciplines has been a central focus of CEMPE's work.

"The desire for more knowledge about primary instrument instruction and practice has been consistent. We have addressed this through specific projects that examine practice from the perspectives of both teachers and students, group instruction, and master classes," says Stabell.

"From there, we focused on the student's artistic development, closely tied to primary instrument instruction. This became a distinct focus area with projects like the Core Portfolio."

Other initiatives stemming from this theme include the student and teacher forum "På tvers," the "Den medspillende kammermusikklærer" project, and the "Educational cultures" study.

During CC&C, one of the parallel sessions on Thursday will be dedicated to primary instrument instruction and the role of the teacher. NMH fellow Vera W. Due will discuss boundaries in higher music education, focusing on limitations in the relationship between primary instrument teacher and student. Associate Professor Kristin Kjølberg will talk about various teaching roles, and Cecilia Ferm Almqvist and Carl Holmgren will discuss European music students' experiences with this relationship.

In addition to the conference on Thursday and Friday, students can participate in seminars and workshops in the days leading up to the event.

"It will be a full closing week for CEMPE," says Ellen Stabell.

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